Hands off 2nd Amendment rights
Much like the South once used local and state laws to undermine the civil rights victories of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, those seeking to undermine recent 2nd Amendment civil rights victories often do so by creating a web of complex and often unlawful regulations and limitations upon the exercise of those rights.
One common ruse in many states is to illegally post signs prohibiting the lawful carry of concealed firearms into a particular location.
Texas, for example, allows for the lawful posting of constraints on concealed carry rights through the use of what are referred to as “30.06 signs,” but the lawful use of these signs is highly limited.
Sadly, it has become all too common for 30.06 signs to be posted where it is unlawful to do so. Someone who lawfully carries in violation of such an unlawful posting commits no criminal offense, but the posting naturally has a chilling effect on the lawful exercise of 2nd Amendment rights. Some of the worst of these unlawful posters have been government entities.
Unfortunately, to date there has been no effective means of punishing those who unlawfully post such civil rights restrictions. Government entities have been particularly out of reach, given their presumed sovereign immunity from legal action.
It is pleasing, therefore, to see Texas move towards ending such unlawful signage, as reported at the Guns.com blog, and in a manner that gives 2nd Amendment rights real teeth and punishes violators–even governmental violators–in their wallets.
The bill in question, SB273 (embedded at the bottom of this post), was filed in January and passed the state Senate by a large majority (26-5) in mid-March. In the words of the legislation’s author:
SB 273 protects citizens from improperly posted 30,06 signs used to coerce CHL holders into unnecessarily disarming on government property.
And what about the statute’s teeth? Violators would face a minimum fine of $1,000 for the first incident, and as much as $10,500 for any subsequent violations.
And what about government violations?
The measure, filed in January, would not only prohibit many state and local public buildings from barring lawful concealed carry, it would strip sovereign immunity from governmental bodies and officials who pursued such policies and allow them to be sued by gun owners for damages.
Unfortunately, some locations–such as schools and polling places–would remain deemed appropriate for lawful 30.06 posting, to what purpose is hard to imagine. Private property can, of course, be so posted, though I would think this would happen only rarely–why advertise that there are only unlawfully possessed guns on your premises? Or, as one wit put it:
Of course SB 273 is not law quite yet. It heads now to the state House, and if it passes there on to the almost certain signature of Governor Abbott.
As promised, here’s the text of the SB 273:
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Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (autographed copies available) and Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.DONATE
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